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New British banknote marks Jane Austen bicentenary

July 18, 2017 - UNITED KINGDOM

English author Jane Austen replaces Charles Darwin on the British £10 note and £2 coin, 200 years after her death. Her literary classics, such as Pride and Prejudice, have been translated into dozens of languages including Hebrew and Japanese.

The author will replace Charles Darwin on the banknote, which is due for release on or about the bicentenary date. Her novels are available in many languages, including Chinese and Russian, a circumstance that explains her near-universal popularity.

The anniversary will see Austen societies and clubs around the world hosting every type of tribute event, from reading marathons to Georgian fashion events. The stately homes of Britain that were used to stage the many film and TV adaptations of her books can expect a crush of visitors as the bicentenary approaches. Pilgrimages to Hampshire, to her birthplace in Steventon, and to Chawton, for the home where she lived for several years before her death, will also be popular. The Chawton home, now an Austen museum, and Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, where she is buried, will each hold their own bicentenary events.

Her novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, are considered literary classics. The approach of the anniversary will see the rescreening of the film and TV adaptations of these books and others, plus television and print biopics about her life and times, bicentenary omnibus editions and new theories on the timelessness of her stories.

Jane Austen was born on Dec 16, 1775, to an upper-class clerical family that allowed a measure of mingling with the aristocracy. Hard times after the death of her father sent the family a long way down the social ladder, accounting for the richness of her commentary on Georgian society from top to bottom. She published her books anonymously, achieving some literary success before she died at 41 in 1817, but only achieving great fame from the grave.

Jane Austen bio (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Jane Austen House Museum

Jane Austen: a great English novelist (Winchester Cathedral)

Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note

Jane Austen events

Date written/update: 2016-09-07